Anthony Pettis had a lot of success in the UFC, but he wants other MMA fighters to know that there are a lot of other paths they may take to achieve their own greatness in the sport.
The current PFL fighter and former UFC lightweight champion made the announcement in December 2020 that he would be entering the field of management and promotion with the formation of his own company, which will be called Showtime Sports Entertainment Group. At that time, Pettis has remained active in the sport of mixed martial arts while also devoting his attention to fostering possibilities for up-and-coming fighters.
Pettis bemoaned, during a recent interview on The MMA Hour, the shortsighted perspective that some fighters have early on in their careers, particularly when it comes to making it to the UFC.
“The management side, it’s sad to see these guys make the decisions they make,” Pettis said. “I’ve been there and some of these guys will pass up on some big contracts in hopes to get on a Contender Series fight. I see it time after time after time and I’m like, ‘Man, look at your career. Look at what age you are. Look at how much time you’ve got left. Let’s make some money before it’s gone. It’s still there, that UFC dream of these guys want to be on Contender Series fights. They’ll risk not making money to take an opportunity on that.
“I get it, they see me and they see what the UFC’s done for my name. Being a champion in the UFC definitely allowed me to do what I’m doing now, but it’s just I thought we were past that at this stage. Seeing PFL coming in strong, Bellator ONE, there’s so many organizations that these guys are just so fixated on one place but that’s the hard part about management. You really can’t control these guys, you can give them the advice and it’s ultimately their decision.”
Pettis made his professional debut when he was only 20 years old and established an undefeated record of 8-0 before getting signed to the WEC in the year 2009. After earning a lightweight championship through hard work in the cage, he joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship once its sister organization was incorporated into it. Pettis reclaimed his championship in 2020 while riding a two-fight winning streak and after receiving significant marketing support. It should be noted that in 2014, Pettis was the first mixed martial arts fighter to grace a Wheaties box.